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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "The Story of the Fisherman and His Wife"

The Story of the Fisherman and His Wife

So he stood there and said:

'Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.'

'What does she want now?' said the flounder.

'Ah!' said the fisherman, half-ashamed, 'she wants to live in a great stone castle.'

'Go home; she is standing before the door,' said the flounder.

The fisherman went home and thought he would find no house. When he came near, there stood a great stone palace, and his wife was standing on the steps, about to enter. She took him by the hand and said, 'Come inside.'

Then he went with her, and inside the castle was a large hall with a marble floor, and there were heaps of servants who threw open the great doors, and the walls were covered with beautiful tapestry, and in the apartments were gilded chairs and tables, and crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and all the rooms were beautifully carpeted. The best of food and drink also was set before them when they wished to dine. And outside the house was a large courtyard with horse and cow stables and a coach-house--all fine buildings; and a splendid garden with most beautiful flowers and fruit, and in a park quite a league long were deer and roe and hares, and everything one could wish for.

'Now,' said the wife, 'isn't this beautiful?'

'Yes, indeed,' said the fisherman. 'Now we will stay here and live in this beautiful castle, and be very happy.'

'We will consider the matter,' said his wife, and they went to bed.

The next morning the wife woke up first at daybreak, and looked out of the bed at the beautiful country stretched before her. Her husband was still sleeping, so she dug her elbows into his side and said:

'Husband, get up and look out of the window. Could we not become the king of all this land? Go down to the flounder and tell him we choose to be king.'

'Ah, wife!' replied her husband, 'why should we be king? I don't want to be king.'

'Well,' said his wife, 'if you don't want to be king, I will be king.

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